Many victims of violent crimes are left with unanswered questions that prevent them from moving forward with their lives. To help in that process, the Department created the Victim/Offender Dialogue Program.
The program provides a safe environment in which victims or survivors of victims of violent acts — murder, attempted murder and sexual assault — and offenders are given the opportunity to meet face-to-face and share a confidential, open exchange about a crime. The goal is to promote understand, resolution and enhance the ability of both parties to move forward in the aftermath of a destructive event.
There is no fee to participate in the Victim Offender Dialogue program; participation of both parties is voluntary. The process is initiated by the victim and can be stopped at any point. The meeting takes place in a private area within a correctional facility, moderated by two trained facilitators.
Both the victim and the offender may have a support person of their choosing provide assistance throughout the process, from exploring the possibility of a face-to-face meeting to working through emotions afterward. There is no set time for completing the process, as each individual case and the parties involved are different.
Many people who have participated in the Victim Offender Dialogue program have found the process helpful in resolving long-standing questions and emotional pain about a crime.
Doug Fawson has worked for Corrections for over 29 years. He began at the prison, working there for 9 years, then spent 10 years working for AP&P, followed by the past 10 in Victim Services. Doug Is the PREA Coordinator, the ECIRT Chair, and provides direct services to victims of offenders who are currently in the agency’s jurisdiction. Doug earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the U of U.